Printed in Sweat Equity Magazine June / July Issue
Commonly called ‘Compass Pose,’ the English translation of Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana is Revolved (parivrtta) Sun (surya) Instrument (yantra) Pose (asana). This is an advanced yoga posture requiring a good amount of both strength and flexibility. If you’re navigating your way through this complex pose for the first time, a roadmap can be useful for guidance along the way.
It’s a good idea to warm up your muscles and move your joints through their full range of motion with Sun Salutations. Five rounds of Surya Namaskara C (Sun Salutation C) will do the job and provides some excellent preparatory hip opening to boot!
Here is what you need to move successfully towards Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana and some stretches to help you get there.
Ardha Hanumanasana (half-splits)
Reclined Hand-to-Foot Pose
Parsvottanasana with hands in prayer position (Pyramid Pose)
Down Dog with opposite hand to ankle (or thigh)
Pigeon Pose (upright or lying down with your ankle crossed over the opposite thigh)
Lizard Pose (a deep upright lunge)
Do your best to stay sitting tall on the sitting bones, without allowing your chest and torso to slump forward. This requires strongly activating your core.
Root down through the outer shin and knee of the bottom leg. This is your foundation.
You can use a strap to hook your foot, which will enable you to straighten the lifted leg. Alternatively, work with the knee bent, finding your maximum stretch and holding for several breaths. Take a break as needed, and then repeat on the same side before moving to the opposite leg.
In addition to the physical benefits brought about by the posture, you can expect to develop patience, coordination, stability, and the self-confidence that comes with a well-earned feeling of accomplishment.
Don’t forget: Even if you find yourself southbound instead of Due North (in yoga and in life!) what matters most is the journey. So, be present to your practice and relish the experience of new openings along the way!